Home   >   Industry Voices

Humiliation in advertising — why it won't be working long term

Claire Rozain on the effects of harmful advertising on user acquisition
Humiliation in advertising — why it won't be working long term

Advertising remains key to User Acquisition, but too often advertising relies on harmful stereotypes or the humiliation of the characters. Such ads don't just harm the user, they can adversely affect user acquisition and trust in the brand.

In this guest post, Rovio UA Team Lead Claire Rozain discusses the effects that hatmful advertising can have on the success of a game.

Careless stereotype ads of people may cause humiliation, increase anger and affect the mental health of our users. You may care about your CPI — you should as well care about your accountability as a leader and member of our society and the negative moral externalities this would generate and affect your business.

Indeed, Borrie (2005) The British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing says:

"All marketing communications should be legal, decent, honest and truthful. All marketing communications should be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society" (p. 54)

While the perfect responsible ad will probably not exist , we can still commit to tending to an ideal of the responsible ad. Harmonizing the voices of different stakeholder is nowadays a need each business needs to consider — especially with the actual legal data protection environment we are evolving in.

Ads are directly related to emotion. Psychoactive ads spread messages around tons of users — thus portraying a group of people in a harmful and indecent context is not legal and could highly affect your valuation. While thinking about your product differentiation you can appear with ads as a meaningful game or adopt a more shady product differentiation strategy involving irresponsible ads that engage your own responsibility and accountability and harm people.

Besides, in its 2020 survey the Brand safety institute highlights 90% of the respondents states it’s very or somewhat important for advertisers to ensure their ads don’t run near dangerous, offensive, or inappropriate content. Other significant data was found by the IAB institute — 55% of consumers are less likely to buy from a brand that advertises alongside fake news and, according to Gartner, 81% of consumers won’t make a purchase from a brand they don’t trust.

A new user acquisition already started. Nowadays, the biggest networks such as Google, Facebook, and others are already committed to brand safety and are currently investing resources in order to adapt the algorithm for more responsible advertising that would be sustainable for their buisiness the long term. An example is NOBL the world’s first ethical programmatic advertising solution. NOBL scans all the internet content and allows it to target only a trustworthy and brand-safe environment. I would not be surprised to have the GAFA following really soon knowing the legal responsibility they have by spreading not responsible content.

We listed Rovio on this year's list of the top 50 mobile game makers. See the whole list here.

Edited by Lewis Rees